Concept cars are used by car makers to experiment with new ideas, new designs, and new features. To that extent, the new Audi Prologue that was just revealed fulfills that purpose and more, showcasing a new direction for Audi. And yet, at the same time, the Prologue is every bit as much an Audi car. As SlashGear editor Vincent Nguyen, who was invited to the exclusive unveiling event, says, “the Audi Prologue is a new design language for Audi one that’s a big departure from the existing models but at the core, it’s still very much an Audi”
Compared to the Audi A8 production model, the Prologue is noticeably shorter and flatter, with a length of 5.10 m, a width of 1.96 m, and a height of 1.39 m. Immediately obvious as well is the car’s low front end, with an even wider radiator grill that is positioned lower than most cars today. View head-on, the Prologue has a distinct horizontal design that its designers believe convey an atmosphere of powerful dynamics. That perception is confirmed by the Prologue’s 4.0 liter TFSI engine, delivering 605 hp of power and a 553.2 lb-ft torque that lets it accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds.
From the outside, the Audi Prologue expresses its sporty personality in a more taut design that speaks of the new vision that the car maker has for its future coupes. The tips of the flat, wedge-like headlights are positioned just above the low-hanging Singleframe. Those headlights are equipped with Audi’s high-resolution Matrix laser technology, where the pupils make use of projection lenses with a laser light source. The air intake beneath the headlights are also new, designed with a more sculptural appearance. Viewed from the side, the Prologue expresses a design of a car that is always in motion and at the same time is balanced to give due emphasis to both the front and rear 22-inch wheels with their 285/30 sized tires. The lower door area sports a unique concave shape that runs all the way back to the rear, calling to mind the design of air inlets and adding to that perception of motion. From the back, the Prologue is described to resemble a luxurious yacht as it is angled in the driving direction. The new long tail light runs across the entire width of the car while the LED rear lights are encased in 3D glass. This gives the illusion that the light is moving towards the observer.
The bold new direction in design extends from exterior to interior and starts right at the door. There are no door handles on this two-door coupe, as the doors are electromechanically opened at the touch of the illuminated sensors in the door mirror housings. Once inside, passengers and driver are not only greeted by a luxurious and generous open space, they are also greeted by the Prologue’s “butler”, an intelligent program that identifies passengers based on their smartphones and adjusts seats and climate control accordingly. This butler can also make recommendations on music and even routes based on the the owner’s preferences.
The instrumentation panel, which extends across the whole width of the interior, deserves to be noted. It integrates three touch displays, one to the left of the steering wheel for control systems, one to the right of the steering wheel for media controls, and a widescreen display in front of the passenger side for entertainment and navigation. This latter part of the panel allows communication between front passenger and driver, as a simple swiping gesture will send data, like say navigation routes, to the new Audi virtual cockpit future. This new cockpit employs three mirrors to convey a unique multi-level view of different information, displayed in 3D-like layers. The most striking innovation, however, is the touchscreen console on the center tunnel. This console is the first in the industry to make use of a bendable OLED display. When not in use, the console lies flat on the center tunnel but once the car is started, it stands up to a more ergonomic angle. This console is dedicated to climate control, handwriting, and other car settings.
The Audi Prologue represents a bold new statement from the veteran car maker that seems to incorporate opposites in a harmonious way. Taut from the outside yet spacious inside. A traditional Audi that embraces the future of in-vehicle interfaces. But, as the name implies, the Prologue is just the first step and the revelation of its unique design is just the opening salvo. Later, Audi will be revealing more about the innovative technology that has gone into this coupe. SlashGear will also have an interview with Marc Lichte, Audi’s new Head of Design and the man that envisioned the Prologue, so hit the comments below if you have questions you want us to ask the designer.